This week I will be presenting a session at the Arizona Music Educators Association annual conference on the topic of “Building Great French Horn Sections.”
There are a few articles in Horn Matters related to this general topic. From Bruce Hembd I would note:
- A Shortage of Young Horn Players
- Alternative Hand Positions for Beginners
- From the Mailbag: What Kind of Horn Should I Buy For My Kid?
And from myself I would note:
- Horn is Tough for Band Directors to Teach
- Commentary: The Need for More Horn Players
- What Horn Best Suits Beginners?
- Notes on Converting to the Horn from Other Instruments
- From the Mailbag: Trumpet to Mellophone–an Easy Switch
- Hornmasters on Mouthpiece Placement
- What Mouthpiece for a New Horn Player?
- Thursday Topics: Hand Position
- Understanding Stopped Horn
- “Horns are a Quarter-Beat Late”–A Response
I will touch on these topics and more in my session. I have designed the presentation so that I can go several directions depending on the size/interests of the audience and will be flexible with the exact content. But I plan to start with several specific issues related to hand position, fingerings, and instrument choices, and from there head toward the topics of switching people to the horn (about 50% of the horn students I have taught at the college level started on another instrument) and the range of common problems (“horn mysteries”) seen at the high school level. My E-Book Introducing the Horn is a related resource I also plan to give all those in attendance at the AMEA session.
The big picture is that that not enough players start on or switch to the horn. Which is the challenge I would put out to Horn Matters readers – be doing your part to build up and support the numbers of good horn players, especially at the high school level. Support their directors! And to those teachers that are, thank you for your hard work.